Remember how bright-eyed and excited you were at the beginning of the year with your music goals and dreams? Now that we’re a few months into the year, it’s a great time to evaluate your progress.
If you followed the SMART goal process (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely), you should have a good idea of whether you reached these goals or not. On the other hand, if you’ve completely forgotten about those aspirations, don’t be too hard on yourself – as life and other priorities come into play, it can be all too easy to brush off or altogether abandon what you set out to do. In fact, according to Betterment.com, while 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, only 8% end up achieving them. Motivation wanes, excuses crop up, and all of a sudden your guitar case has a nice layer of dust on it.
Since March 20th is the first day of spring, consider this a much-needed “spring cleaning” – wipe the slate clean, forgive yourself for not practicing as much as you said you would, and then remind yourself why you set your particular goals to begin with.
Ready? To start your music goal spring cleaning, think about…
(1) If you reached your goals… what’s next?
Congrats! It’s an awesome feeling to surpass those milestones and reach your goals. Pat yourself on the back! Now’s the time to really push yourself further and amp up your excitement. What have you enjoyed most about your lessons so far? What kind of music do you get excited about playing? If you’re not sure where to go next, chat with your teacher and define your next set of goals. Have you performed in front of an audience yet? Want to try your hand at composing your own tune? The sky’s the limit.
(2) If you haven’t reached your goals… what happened?
Again, don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t made the progress you were expecting. Particularly if you’re taking music lessons as an adult, sometimes life just gets in the way. The key here is to get back to the enthusiasm and motivation you felt at the very beginning. What originally inspired you to learn how to play the guitar or piano? Next, think about where you got off track. Do you find yourself making excuses for not practicing? List out some concrete strategies for overcoming your most common excuses, such as scheduling out specific time to practice.
If it feels like you’re doing everything right and you’re still stuck, consider the goals themselves. Are they reasonable? After all, you’re not going to attend one drum lesson and then wake up the next morning jamming like Travis Barker. Moreover, do you have the support you need? This can be anything from a teacher who meshes well with your learning style and interests, to a family or roommate who respects your dedicated practice space and time.
(3) If you’re not sure (or if your goals weren’t specific)… what can you measure going forward?
It doesn’t need to be anything too crazy. If you’re taking music lessons just for fun, for example, define how many days each week you’re going to practice. Or how many fun songs you’d like to learn. And don’t forget about performance opportunities, from open mics to sharing your talents with family and friends.
As you review your goals, the most important thing to ask yourself is this: are you still having fun? If not, maybe it’s time to recharge. Check out new music, attend a local art show, jam with your friends, or even try a whole new instrument – you never know what will spark your creativity and inspire you.
So, readers, time to hold yourselves accountable. Where are you at with your goals? What are your next steps? Leave a comment below and share your story!
Photo by RichardBH